Is it enough to play the underprivileged classes?
This week at Harper Morgan English, we’re talking about Meryl Streep and her Golden Globes acceptance speech. Meryl, who was awarded the 2017 Cecil B. DeMille Award, used her screen time to raise the issue of an actor’s job in portraying real people.
In her speech she points out that the Hollywood elite are a mix of people from everywhere and devote their life to staring in roles which represent people who may not be able to speak loudly enough for themselves. She states that in their work, those involved in making movies, are responsible for publicly depicting the stories of our daily lives and raising awareness about the human struggle.
She also made a point of criticising Donald Trump for his mimicking a disabled journalist during his 2016 presidential campaign. She talks of the disrespectful way in which President Elect Trump conducted himself and the negative effect that ‘role’ has on the audience. Meryl calls for these sorts of actions to not go unnoticed – she demands that those who disrespect others be held accountable for their actions.
Here are some questions for you to consider;
Although it is the case that many celebrities start in similar positions to us, many have achieved huge fame and fortune. In this case are their depictions of ‘real’ people truly accurate? And if movies are mainly intended to be entertainment, can we use them as genuine points of reference for human stories?
More often than not, Hollywood is criticised for ‘white-washing’ (casting caucasian actors to play people of colour), is this an example of disrespecting the people being represented in those roles?
Finally, what is the difference between Donald Trump’s actions and those of any able-bodied actor playing a disabled character? What’s to say that portraying a disabled person in a film is any less offensive than mimicking someone?
As always, we’re interested in hearing from you, so comment, share and join the conversation.
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